Bristol has increased the number of its liquor licenses for establishments from 29 to 30.
Town councilors unanimously approved to amend the town ordinance regulating full liquor licenses during its meeting Wednesday night.
The initial request to add a liquor license came from restauranteur Steve Parrot. He told councilors on Aug. 7 that he intended to open a restaurant at 200 Gooding Ave. – formerly Sage Bar and Grill – but only if he could be granted a full liquor license. The building was bought out of receivership by Pete Sebring, who transferred both the victualing and liquor licenses to the former YMCA building on Hope Street, where he plans to open an oyster bar.
That left 200 Gooding Ave. without a liquor license.
“I don’t want to sponsor any establishment that doesn’t serve food,” said Councilman Halsey Herreshoff during the Sept. 18 meeting.
Mr. Parrot assured council members that his restaurant, Gooding Grille, would be a family-style restaurant offering guests a full menu: steaks, seafood, pasta, soup, chowder, prime rib and pizza. Menu items would range in price from $5 to $17, he said.
“(Financing) is based on whether we get a full license,” Mr. Parrot told council members. “And I made that request for a license based on what I brought to the table as an experienced restauranteur, someone who has been in the industry for 35 years. I was a corporate director for Ruby Tuesdays.
“I’ve never had issues in any of the states I’ve operated in.”
Before approving the additional license and designating it to Mr. Parrot, Councilmor Nathan Calouro hesitated, suggesting that the council give Mr. Parrot a limited license now and review his progress in a few months. A limited license would allow Mr. Parrot to sell beer and wine, but not liquor.
“A lot of time councils want to put on training wheels,” Mr. Parrot said. “But we have people in town who are getting licenses that have never been in business before. I have. I understand the law, rules and the way the process goes. We want to be upstanding citizens and be an asset to the community.”
Had the council voted in favor of a limited liquor license, Mr. Parrot said there would be an immediate economic impact to the restaurant.
“When people go out to a restaurant, and someone’s in the group who only drinks a vodka martini with dinner, they’ll make a decision to go somewhere else because they can’t get what they want here,” he said.
Police Chief Jose Canario recommended that the council grant Mr. Parrot’s request, adding that “if he steps out of line we’ll be right there to remind him.”
Mr. Parrot is hoping to open Gooding Grille by mid-to-late-October.